Since the gallery was popular on G+ for obvious reasons and I’ve written some detailed first impressions for Metanorn, I figured I’d go ahead and do an episode 1 post here. I’ll open immediately with my suggestion.
My suggestion to submit to you, the reader, would be this. If you don’t like the first episode, go ahead and drop the anime. For those mildly interested, I suggest you follow the bloggers that will cover this or feel free to comment here with questions for me as a manga reader, and if there’s anything you find in their writings or in the pictures that interests you, then go ahead and start at whatever point that is. There won’t be any need for you to watch episodes 2 thru XX; all you will miss is Medaka in a swimsuit and another member of the student council joining up. Medaka Box is not Spring 2012’s best anime; it might rank closer to the bottom with Sengoku Collection. All I’ve heard is that it takes a long time to really get good, though we don’t know if Gainax will run this series long-term. Why put yourself through the pain of watching several ordinary episodes (unless you are a completionist?) to get to the good stuff?
All of these Weekly Jump series that become anime are hard to give a concrete assessment of after their first episode. Whether you live by the one-and-done, the three-episode rule or something that fits you best, these shounen-type series need time to develop. However, I wonder if Medaka Box should be given such a long leash. The first episode really only establishes that Medaka is the school’s president/goddess and doesn’t offer up much that’s worth checking out beyond episode 1. Overall I thought the production was alright with a moment of two of QUALITY. Gainax did really good with Medaka’s character design (plenty of fanservice) and also Shiranui and they did make Hakoniwa Academy look really nice. The soundtrack was nice as I enjoyed this episode through headphones, though the OP theme is skippable ordinary j-pop. I liked those songs 10 years ago, not today.
I really like Kurokami Medaka, which is somewhat perplexing to me given my taste in female anime characters (from a personality perspective). She’s an anime babe no doubt about that, but I generally cannot stand the “Miss Perfect” characters and that’s what Medaka is in spades. “Perfect” characters can be a real chore to watch, and from what I’ve read of the manga so far, she’s still always in the “right”. I think it’s in her caring of her other student council members that I like most about her and I do kind of like the superhuman stuff she’s been pulling (which Hitoyoshi seems to have an understanding of as will be noticeable a few episodes down the road). She does have some very minor qualities that set her back just a bit, but she’s strong enough to power through her own shortcomings. I couldn’t fully enjoy Aki Toyosaki’s portrayal of the character; the voice just sounded a bit too soft and cutesy. It’s the trouble of reading before watching when you start to think of how a character sounds. That issue is probably on me.
Hitoyoshi will be the male lead through the series. Him filling the role of guy that has to deal with a woman leader or some kind of harem, my initial comparison was to the likes of Kyon or someone similar. He shouldn’t be compared to Kyon sense Kyon is a god-tier character and the relationship status these guys have with their female presidents are different. I prefer to set Kodaka from Haganai as a base; he was a good character with interesting interactions and thoughts, but doesn’t always have to do the heavy lifting in the series. He showed his caring of Medaka in this episode, but in the immediate future of the series, he won’t really add anything more. Shiranui has been the wildcard for me as I read the manga. She doesn’t really show it in the first episode a lot, but there is some interesting tension between her and Medaka that you should notice in later episodes. I don’t know if she has a greater role to play in the series, but it’s perhaps the aspect I’m most anxious to see play out.
I had read the first 10 chapters of the manga before this episode aired, and once it did I went and read 7 more. So far nothing has wowed me. It’s been pretty much the same beat with a couple fun moments like the upcoming Pool event. I’m still in the stage of the manga where all there is for plot is the Suggestion Box, and for the anime, this could be several weeks before things really pick up. All things considered, I still find something about the manga that I enjoy and will continue reading, hoping that the reports of things taking 50 or so chapters to really pick up will pay off in a nice way. I’m not expecting something mind-blowing, I’m just waiting for the special powers to kick in. I was initially concerned about how Madhouse was going to adapt Hunter x Hunter since they hadn’t done long-running shows for a while, but they seem to be sticking with it for the long haul and I would like to see Gainax go long-running with Medaka Box.
More images from our Google+ gallery inside the spoiler. [spoiler]KPICASA_GALLERY(MedakaBox01)[/spoiler]